Timber was chosen for The Studio for both aesthetic and structural reasons. The building was designed to contrast with the reclaimed stone facade of the neighbouring Georgian old rectory. It needed to be modern, but at the same time blend in with its surroundings on the Fonthill Estate.
The versatility of the timber, which will eventually fade to silver, was vital for the cladding – using varying widths gave the exterior a contemporary feel whilst keeping it in style with the natural surroundings.
As a pool house, the construction of a pergola was important to give some external shade in years to come, so extending the asymmetrical timber trusses through the walls was a unique and creative way of fulfilling that requirement. Internally, the trusses also opened up to the roof, giving it a feel reminiscent of an old barn – something they were able to do due to the combination of SIPs and hidden steel portal frame.
The asymmetrical trusses extend through the building to form the pergola to the pool, which spans the length of the building. The landscaping around the pool and studio help contextualise the building while providing the client with entertaining and al fresco dining areas.
The clean lines, minimalist aesthetic and vaulted timber ceilings required specialist structural input. Richmond Bell approached Carpenter Oak due to their vast experience in timber engineering and expertise in exposed structural timbers. A vital part of the brief was to design a building that resulted in an airtight structure with a thermal performance that exceeded current building standards. Carpenter Oak proposed a solution that not only allowed the larch glulam timber trusses to be on show but incorporated hidden steel portal frames and SIPs. Each of these three core elements working together, utilising specialist hidden connection details that enabled the building to withstand the implied loadings.
The 8.5m span larch glulam trusses were sourced in the UK and used for their natural clean aesthetic as well as structural capabilities. Due to being kiln dried, it’s also very stable in terms of shrinkage movement
The build also incorporates steel as part of the structural makeup, with windposts hidden within the SIPs build up. These steel posts form the three-way connection between the trusses and SIPs. This, in turn, is creating the rigid form that removes the need for internal walls across the building.
The SIPs used in the walls and roof provide airtightness and thermal performance to exceed building control standards. Also used because of their structural qualities, they are capable of receiving and transferring all wind and horizontal loads in conjunction with trusses and steel posts into the foundations.
The asymmetrical roof form combined with large span meant the truss had to incorporate extra diagonal struts and considerably deep tie beam. The coordination of timber, steel and SIPs was crucial. All elements were prefabricated offsite and fitted with millimetre tolerance on site. The steels and trusses had to be erected first and ‘propped’ until the SIPs were fitted. Coordination was required between 2 different structural engineers working on different elements of the project.
The asymmetrical trusses extend through the building to form the pergola to the pool, which spans the length of the building. Once we’d raised the frame on site, WB Design & Build carried out the rest of the project. The landscaping around the pool and studio help contextualise the building while providing the client with entertaining and al fresco dining areas.
The external timber cladding details use varying widths of larch that help give a contemporary feel to the natural material. This is further enhanced by the concealed guttering and solar panels which help maintain the sharp clean lines of the building.
Internally, the studio consists of a single large open-plan space. The roof trusses remain exposed and together with the wooden floor and rustic timber cupboards and window sills, made from wood recycled from the old rectory, enhance the calm aura of the interior.
Photography courtesy of Matthew Mudd of Richmond Bell Architects and Christian Couzens.